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Millers hope to keep on singing the Blues

Although hardly regularly opponents, Rotherham harbour an impressive home record against Saturday’s visitors Birmingham.     

The Millers are unbeaten in eight clashes with Blues on home soil, a record going back to 1965, though the last three visits – spanning 24 years – have all ended in draws.

From those eight games, there are two that standout, with both providing Millers fans reason to cheer but for very different reasons.

Here's a look at those classic meetings ahead of this weekend's clash at New York.

Williamson’s magic touch - Rotherham 5 Birmingham 1 (October 1989)

There’s little doubt who the star of the show was for the Millers in 1989/90. Bobby Williamson’s goals had fired Billy McEwan’s side to promotion from Division Four as champions the previous season and he took to a higher level with aplomb.

When Blues visited Millmoor in October 1989, the Millers were seventh in the table, a point and four positions worse off than their midlands opponents.

There's a reason Williamson was called Hot-Shot Bobby
But the hosts were in fine form and fresh from a 4-0 drubbing of Cardiff in their last fixture, a game where Williamson fired a hat-trick.

And the Scottish striker was at it again as he inspired another free-scoring afternoon for the men in red and white, making it back-to-back trebles.

Full-back Martin Scott put the hosts ahead with a header from John Buckley’s cross just three minutes in, only for Simon Sturridge to level for Blues later on in the first period.

But the Millers ran wild after the break and Williamson bagged his first when he struck from 20 yards, catching keeper Martin Thomas off his line to restore the lead.

If that goal was special his second was sublime as he took the ball on the corner of the penalty area from Ronnie Robinson, turned and curled in a sumptuous effort into the top corner in front of the Railway End.

Buckley made it four with a cushioned finish at the far post before Williamson claimed the match ball when he finished coolly from Robinson’s through ball.

The Millers, who also hit Leyton Orient for five in their next home game, ended up ninth in the table, two points worse off than Blues.

Project survival accomplished - Rotherham 2 Birmingham 2 (April 2001)

After a tough battle against relegation during their first season in the second tier for 20 years, the last thing Ronnie Moore’s Rotherham needed was a visit from promotion-chasing Birmingham in their final home game.

But, perhaps typical of the whole campaign, the Millers put in an impressive showing and earned a point which, barring a humongous swing in goal difference, meant survival

The Millers took the lead nine minutes before the break when Darren Byfield, born and bred in the midlands, followed up his debut goal at West Brom, with an accomplished finish following Alan Lee’s breakaway.

The lead was short-lived, though, and Blues were level just two minutes later when Martin Grainger’s free-kick from 20 yards went in off the underside of the bar.

McIntosh was a hero for the Millers between 2001-05
But that was nothing compared to what Millers defender Martin McIntosh produced after the break. The silky Scot was used to being a threat at set-plays, scoring three goals previously, but it usually getting on the end of deliveries from others.

This time, he didn’t need anyone else to get involved as from the right-edge of the penalty area 20 yards out, he whipped in a delightful left-footed curling effort which bent beautifully into the top corner and became an immediate contender for goal of the season.

A win would have made sure of Rotherham’s survival but again they could not hold their lead for long and 10 minutes later hapless defender Chris Beech turned David Mooney’s shot into his own net to draw Birmingham level and that’s how it ended.

Results elsewhere meant that there had to be a 10-goal swing between the Millers and their final-day opponents Crewe for them to drop back down to Division Two, which of course there wasn’t, and they went on to enjoy some of the best years in their history.

The future wasn’t too bleak for Birmingham either as they went on to reach the Premier League after a successful play-off campaign.

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